Former GE Oil & Gas IP Head, Disney IP Executive Join Chadbourne & Parke IP Group

NEW YORK - The international law firm of Chadbourne & Parke LLP has announced that Stephen Manetta has joined the firm's intellectual property group as counsel in the New York office. He comes to Chadbourne from General Electric Co.

At GE, Manetta was head of the IP Department at the company's Oil & Gas Division.

Chadbourne also announced that it has hired former Walt Disney Company IP Executive Rajappan ("BG") Balagopal in the Firm's Los Angeles office as a Senior IP Strategist for the group. At Disney, he was Vice President, Technology Intellectual Property Management and was in charge of patent strategy across all of Disney's product lines.

Manetta, 47, spent nearly four years with GE in Florence, Italy. In that role, he defined and executed worldwide IP strategy for oil and gas operations, implementing and advancing IP development and protection. Manetta has experience managing all aspects of intellectual property, from portfolio building to licensing, to litigation, both in the U.S. and internationally. He also brings considerable IP experience in computer and software technologies, electronics and medical devices. With a background in energy-related work, he will also boost Chadbourne's renewables practice.

Manetta's hiring follows on the heels of IP laterals Duane Valz, former VP & Associate General Counsel, Global Patents at Yahoo! Inc.; Ken Johnson, former Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLP's Chief Patent Counsel; Chuck Fish, former Time Warner Inc. Chief Patent Counsel; and John A. Squires, former Goldman Sachs' Chief Intellectual Property Counsel. Additionally, the group recently added well known IP litigator John Hintz, who joined from Wilmer Hale, bringing a specialty in IP "troll" litigation defense.

During his more than 15 years of doing IP work, he has also been a partner at Morgan & Finnegan LLP.

Manetta is a qualified electrical engineer with seven years experience as senior systems and lead software engineer. He is comfortable discussing, and advising on, complex technology issues.

Manetta received a Bachelor in Electrical Engineering from Manhattan College in 1984 and a J.D. from Villanova University School of Law in 1993. He is registered to practice in the United States Patent and Trademark Office and is admitted in New York.

With the hiring of Balagopal, Chadbourne continues its bi-coastal expansion of the firm's IP practice. At Disney, he developed and implemented an enterprise-wide strategy to significantly expand the entertainment conglomerate's IP footprint beyond traditional copyright and trademark protection to patents. Before Disney, Balagopal was Director of Patent & Technology Transactions for Intel.

Balagopal, 47, is a registered patent agent and has over 15 years of multi-industry commercial IP management experience, including IP assessment, operations and strategy; technology transfer and licensing and IP acquisitions and divestures.

He received B. Tech. and M.S. degrees in Chemical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, and the University of South Florida, in 1984 and 1986, respectively. Balagopal is registered to practice in the USPTO.

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